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Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Detective (1968)

A New York police detective (Frank Sinatra) is called to the scene of the brutal mutilation murder of a homosexual (James Inman). The case is solved rather quickly but perhaps too quickly as a further investigation into a suicide reveals a more complex scenario. Based on the novel by Roderick Thorp with a screenplay by Abby Mann (JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG) and directed by Gordon Douglas (TONY ROME). This is a rather startling movie to come out in 1968. One of the first Hollywood films to deal openly with homosexuality, its portrayal of the gay lifestyle isn't as bad as THE BOYS IN THE BAND (what could be?) but it's pretty close. However, Sinatra's protagonist rather than being homophobic seems quite understanding and even empathetic. His gentle interrogation of an unstable gay man (Tony Musante in a dreadful over the top performance) is beautifully done. Though its portrayal of gays is stereotypical of the era, there's an honesty about societal attitude toward homosexuals as when the killer states that he "felt more guilty about being a homosexual than a murderer." This was Sinatra's last great performance, he's wonderful here. In an underwritten role, Lee Remick as his nymphomaniac wife brings an unexpected depth. The large cast includes Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Duvall, Ralph Meeker, Al Freeman Jr., Jack Klugman, Lloyd Bochner, William Windom, Horace McMahon and Renee Taylor.  


  1. Lee Remick as a nyphomaniac? Woo Hoo!

  2. Alas, she's a very unhappy nympho, rc. For a film crammed with sex, it's incredibly unerotic. It's a very dark film.